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Over 80% of businesses employ apprentices

January 2018

In a survey of 400 c-suite professionals, 80% said that their businesses now employ apprentices, in a trend showing that the apprenticeship has well and truly broken free of the ‘traditional’ apprenticeship industries of manufacturing and construction.

The apprenticeship is growing at a phenomenal rate; in the time of last coalition government, almost 2.5m people started apprenticeships1, in part due to the removal of the upper age limit of 25.

There is arguably no longer such a thing as a ‘traditional’ apprentice industry. In every sector we surveyed, only the education sector – where a pre-requisite for teaching is of course higher education – saw less than 70% saying they currently employ apprentices.

Survey of c-suite professionals: Does your business employ apprentices?

Graph from survey of c-suite professionals: Does your business employ apprentices?

In April 2017, the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced – a tax on payroll over £3m introducing new pressure on those larger businesses not yet offering apprenticeships to do so. All businesses paying the levy are able to recover the money if they use it to invest towards apprenticeship training; this ‘use it or lose it’ model gives employers up to two years to re-invest the cash before it is passed on to the Treasury.

Despite having only been introduced last year, 68% of those we asked who are paying the levy have already re-invested the funds into their business in the form of training.

At the lower end, Government continues to encourage SMEs^ (opens in a new window) who are not liable for the Apprenticeship Levy to invest in training, with grants and funding available of up to 90% of the cost of an apprentice’s training.

Connect with Work

One reason apprenticeships are so important is because of a growing worldwide population; by 2030 an estimated 600 million new jobs are needed to absorb the world’s growing workforce2. With this in mind, Barclays has made a commitment around access to employment to upskill millions of people and to drive job creation through supporting entrepreneurs.

One of the ways we are doing this is through our Connect with Work programme, which connects individuals seeking employment with our corporate clients and businesses who are recruiting but struggling to find skilled and motivated individuals. Together with a selection of charity partners we train people in the job-specific skills that businesses are looking for and support them into jobs or apprenticeships.

Since its launch at the start of 2017, Connect with Work has supported some 300 people into work and engaged with more than 50 Barclays clients.

“Although there are many employability programmes that offer general skills, there are very few that offer real skills training with actual jobs at the end of it,” explained Nicki Thomson, MD, Head of Business Services in Barclays Corporate and the programme’s sponsor. “Connect with Work helps address the skills gap and gives businesses the opportunity to develop a diverse and skilled workforce. We support our corporate clients to identify opportunities for young people and find the training they need to fill the skills gap to help their businesses grow.”

Read more about Connect with Work in our overview of today’s pressures on businesses.

This article is an extract from our report on access to employment.^ (opens in a new window)

2World Bank^ (opens in a new window)